Monday, February 26, 2018

Saying Goodbye

In approximately 36 hours, I will be saying goodbye (again) to my husband of almost 25 years. I was given the chance to say goodbye at the hospital, holding his hand and kissing his forehead as he took his last breath. But in 36 hours, we have his funeral, and will have to say the final goodbye before he is laid to rest. It still doesn't quite feel real to me. Something sad will happen, and I want to turn to him. Something exciting happens, and I think "I've got to tell Tyler!"

I first met him in October of 1992. He was a friend of a friend, and she brought him by to meet me. It was a short visit, but for some reason, he knew I would be a part of his life. 6 months later, he hunted me down and we went on our first date. Just a few weeks later, he got down on one knee in the middle of the road, with oncoming traffic, and proposed. He refused to move until I said yes. A few months after that, in August of 1993, we got married.

A year after our first date, we had our first child. From that moment on, our children were Tyler's priority. They were what he lived for. It was shortly after our 3rd child that he started getting sick. It wasn't until after our 4th and 5th (twins) that we found out why he was ill. He was diagnosed with diabetes.

It was shortly after that diagnosis that his health issues forced him to be a stay-at-home daddy - a job he loved more than anything. After our 6th and final child was born, Tyler became officially disabled, and we all moved to this little town to be closer to family - his family - his parents - the people who taught him (and myself) the importance of family.

Through all of his health problems, his children remained his top priority. He always had two requests of me - never let the kids see him hooked up to anything in the hospital (or anywhere), and always be there for them, not him.

We spent countless sleepless nights - the kids and me - at home, waiting for news on his condition, surgery after surgery.

But on Wednesday, Feb 21, we got a call that he'd had a heart attack. I knew we had to break the rules he had established. All of our children, myself, his mother, and other friends and family all gathered by his side. He kept fighting until Thursday afternoon, trying to stay with his children. But, with his loved ones by his bedside, telling him he is loved so much - with his children telling him that - he let the good Lord take hold.

I know without a doubt that although he never wanted his children - our children - to witness that, he was able to let go because there were there not just to support him, but to support each other.

Tyler wanted nothing more than to watch his children grow up, graduate high school, get married, have babies, etc. He won't be here to witness all of these events for all of the children - something I know hurts the kids (and myself) deeply. And I know that desire to see these milestones is why he fought as hard and as long as he did. But I also know without a doubt that he is so very proud and comforted by the fact that he raised six amazing children who have each others' backs. And he left knowing he was able to instill in them the same values he learned from his own parents - family comes first. Through thick and thin, through every hardship, family stands together, supporting one another, holding one another, looking out for one another, forgiving one another.

I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to be a part of his journey - and he a part of mine - for 25 years, and to have taught these lessons, and to have witnessed (and continue to witness) the impact his values had on our children and loved ones.

He is my Now and Forever - my love, my partner, my friend, my husband, my inspiration. And I pray he continues holding my hand and guiding me in spirit as I try to keep with the values he held.

I love you Tyler. NAF.

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